Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adverb From where; from what place.
  • adverb From what origin or source.
  • conjunction Out of which place; from or out of which.
  • conjunction By reason of which; from which.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • From what place? from what source, origin, or antecedents?
  • From what place; from which place or source.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adverb From what place; hence, from what or which source, origin, antecedent, premise, or the like; how; -- used interrogatively.
  • adverb From what or which place, source, material, cause, etc.; the place, source, etc., from which; -- used relatively.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adverb From where; from which place or source.
  • conjunction From where.
  • conjunction literary, poetic From which.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adverb from what place, source, or cause

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English whennes : whenne, whence (from Old English hwanon; see kwo- in Indo-European roots) + -es, genitive sing. suff.; see –s.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English whennes, from Old English hwanone (with adverbial genitive -s), related to hwænne.

Examples

Comments

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  • It makes me angry when people say "from whence." ARRR!!!

    April 14, 2007

  • Is this word ever followed by anything other than "it came"?

    April 16, 2007

  • Good king Whence is Laus? After he punched me I whenced?

    April 17, 2007

  • Any motion verb would work, methinks. "Whence it flew/flowed/drifted" and on and on and on and on.

    April 18, 2007

  • Lady Sneerwell. The paragraphs, you say, Mr. Snake, were all inserted?

    Snake. They were, madam; and, as I copied them myself in a feigned hand, there can be no suspicion whence they came.

    Sheridan, School for Scandal

    January 5, 2008